A group of Democrat Senators are working to end the federal ban on marijuana and hope to have draft legislation “in the near future,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday — hailing progress on “a very unofficial American holiday, 4/20.”
Four-twenty is slang for marijuana and hashish consumption, and April 20 is considered an occasion for smoking or celebrating it.
Schumer said on the Senate floor that he’s working with fellow Democrat Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon on the issue, The Hill reported.
“Senators Booker, Wyden and I are going to continue to work on our legislation and in the near future we hope to have a draft of a comprehensive reform effort,” he said, adding the measure bill would end the federal prohibition but also “ensure restorative justice, protect public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations.”
“It’s time for change. I believe the time has come to end the federal prohibition on marijuana in this country,” Schumer said, The Hill reported.
Schumer, who said his own thinking had “evolved,” acknowledged state marijuana laws across the country, including New York, where recreational marijuana for adults was recently legalized.
He told Politico a measure would move with or without support from President Joe Biden.
“I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will,” Schumer told the news outlet. “But at some point we're going to move forward, period.”
The Hill pointed out the bill faces an uphill battle in the upper chamber, and will need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster; the House passed a separate bill this week to let banks and financial institutions to work with cannabis businesses.
Schumer talked about legislation to decriminalize cannabis last month.
"I support decriminalization at the federal level, and we'll be introducing legislation with a few of my colleagues shortly,” he told ABC March 31.
Legislation would expunge criminal records for marijuana use, regulate and tax marijuana, and remove it from the federal list of controlled substances.
"This is about restorative justice. This is not a problem of the past,” Booker added at the time. “In 2019, there were more marijuana arrests, and most of them — over 90% — for possession only, more arrests like that than all violent crime arrests combined. This is not a war on drugs, it's a war on people and certain people."
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said Biden supports decriminalization.
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